If there's one thing I've learned about blogging, it's that it can be sooooo time consuming!!! I started my first blog back in 2006 and I fell in love with it, so I've been blogging ever since!
BUT. To do it well, (especially if you are using your blog for business), it takes up a lot of time. Time that a lot of us busy folk might feel that we don't have very much of! However, if you blog for business, then it's important to do it regularly. And if you're doing it regularly, then it's important to save as much time as possible! Right? So today, I'm taking you through six steps to speed up your blog's workflow so that it will run like a well-oiled machine!
1. Create a back log of blog post ideas to pull from.
Grab your favorite notebook (does anyone else here hoard pretty office supplies like me?!) and take a little time to brainstorm a long list of topics and blog post ideas. Having this handy list will make your life so much easier! I wrote about how to never run out of ideas for awesome content in this post.
2. Create an editorial calendar.
This one has been HUGE for me, you guys! Treating your blog like a magazine will keep you on track with blogging for many reasons. First, having your posts scheduled out in advance for the month removes the pressure of having to come up with content last minute- and nothing can stifle creativity like pressure! Second, you can glance ahead and start working on future posts ahead of time. Third, you can still move around your scheduled posts to best fit your schedule!
So. How can you create an editorial calendar? Easy peasy!
First, decide how many times a week you want to post. Keep it realistic! Don't aim to post daily when you KNOW in the back of your mind that doing so will be stressful and too time-consuming for you! (There's nothing worse than setting yourself up for failure right from the beginning, ya know?)
Second, plan your posts. Remember that list of ideas that you brainstormed in step 1? Feel free to pull from there! Take time to write out your post ideas. Planning is the fun part!!! A lot of people rush the planning part and then oftentimes their posts will look like shortened, recycled versions of what was popular on Pinterest the week before. And that's just no fun right? Don't dumpster dive in the recycle bin for your blog post ideas, ya'll. Also, remember to make sure that your post ideas are catered towards your blog's purpose and your ideal reader! (If you're not clear on the purpose of your blog, check out this post! If you need ideas on how to attract your ideal reader, check out this post!)
Third, schedule your posts! Now that you've decided how many times per week that you'd like to post and you've got a list of blog post ideas, put 'em on the calendar. You can use a big dry-erase calendar on your wall, a paper planner or a digital calendar ... whatever works best for you! Now that your posts are "on the calendar," try your best to stick to it. Deadlines are deadlines, baby!
(Random donut photo just because.)
3. Write a rough draft.
Some times when I just have a little pocket of time available, I will fill it by quickly creating an outline for my next blog post. OR if I'm feeling inspired to start a particular blog post that's coming up at some point, I will just quickly write out some ideas or an outlined draft. Don't think TOO much when doing this- that's why it's called a rough draft, people! But having a rough draft or an outline (when you have time to create one), almost always makes writing the actual post faster.
4. Create a cover image template.
The importance of having an awesome "cover image" for your blog posts has increased GREATLY (like ... a bagillion times) because of Pinterest. However, if you are creating a cover image from scratch every single time you write a post, you are wasting time! Precious, precious time that you could be spending with your kitty or having coffee with a friend, for instance! Save yourself butt loads of time by creating a cover image template in either Photoshop or something like Canva. That way each time you write a blog post, all you have to do is make a few small changes like inserting a photo or changing the text!
5. Speed up your photo editing workflow.
Owning my own wedding photography business for the past 5 years has allowed me to really hone in on my photo editing workflow to make it nice and fast! If your blog is photo heavy, this step is especially important because you can spend WAAAAY to much time on editing. Take the time to really refine your photo editing workflow and also write down all the steps you include in it, this way you can quickly do the same things each time while also being consistent! So here's the steps included in my own personal photo editing workflow ...
- Quickly cull the images for the blog post. This simply means that you go through (quickly!) and choose the images which you will use.
- Crop and rotate the images. Now go through the images and do any necessary cropping/rotating.
- Edit the image(s). It may take some time to develop your style of editing, but once you do you can learn to make it really quick! In Lightroom I will edit one photo and then go to settings > sync settings to apply those changes to ALL of my photos at once. BAM. Batch editing at it's finest, baby! (However I will still usually need to go through them quickly to make small tweaks to things like exposure and white balance.) Using things like Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions can also make your photo editing process faster! Some pretty Lightroom presets include the VSCO Film Presets and some pretty Photoshop actions include these ones by A Beautiful Mess.
- Batch resize your photos. I used to waste waaaay too much time on resizing/sharpening my photos to get them ready for the blog. But NO MORE, my friends! I wrote an entire post on the tool that I use that has shaved tons of time off my workflow and you can check it out here.
6. Schedule your post for publishing!
Last step, woo ho!!!! Once you've written your blog post it's time to schedule it's publish date and time, that way you don't even have to worry about it! For example in Wordpress you don't have to just hit "publish" (which will make it go live immediately), but you can hit "edit" next to the publish date and change the date and time to whenever you wish to automate it for. Pretty nifty right?!
And there you have it, 6 steps to help speed up your blog's workflow, yo! Remember, it might take a little bit of time to get your workflow working like a well-oiled machine, but it will totally be worth it in the long run when you are saving yourself tons of time!
Have you tried any of these steps? Are there any that you would add? Is your current workflow working for you? Why/why not? DO share.
With colored sprinkles on top.
(The chocolate flavored ones.)